Celebration Honoring Syracuse Music Legend Elijah Harris Set for July 17 at Hendricks Chapel

While a beloved Central New York musician died unexpectedly last year, he will be remembered this month not by how his life tragically ended, but the spirit in which he embraced it.

Elijah Harris Jr. (photo courtesy of

Popular troubadour and local legend Elijah Harris Jr., who was killed by a pair of hit-and-run accidents in April 2020, will be honored during a celebratory memorial service from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at Hendricks Chapel.

All members of the community are invited to this special observance being organized by his daughter, Lakisha Harris and her family, and hosted by Syracuse University’s College of Professional Studies. Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, the family asks that attendees wear masks to keep the community safe.

“Mr. Harris could be heard on the streets of downtown and across University Hill, where folks delighted in seeing his presence and listening to his special brand of music,” says College of Professional Studies Dean Michael Frasciello. “We’re proud to play a part in honoring him and the influence he had on many other musicians.”

The service will feature tributes by family members and friends, performances by those who have been impacted by his artistry, an opportunity to receive a portrait of “Eli,” as he was known, and a gift card from J Michael Shoes on Marshall Street.

“My dad used music to communicate and to teach others how to love through music,” says Lakisha Harris. “This celebration will be a reflection of his passion and inspiration.”

Last fall, the Harris family established the Eli Harris Scholarship Fund, through the College of Professional Studies, which will assist a part-time music student annually. Learn more about the scholarship. To make a donation in memory of Eli Harris, please contact Jeff Comanici, executive director of advancement and external affairs, at 315.443.1409 or

For more information about Eli Harris’ memorial service, please contact Lakisha Harris at 315. 418.5536 or

Chaplaincies host Pre-Welcome programs for incoming students

Transitioning into college is one of the most significant moments in many young adults’ lives. To help students feel more at home, the Jewish and Muslim chaplaincies of Hendricks Chapel have created unique Pre-Welcome programs for incoming Syracuse University students.

FreshFest with Syracuse Hillel

Syracuse Hillel is proud to offer FreshFest, a three-day Pre-welcome program for 100 incoming students and 50 upper-division student FreshFest mentors. Move-in early, learn about Jewish life at Syracuse University, get to know campus and the Syracuse area through a variety of activities. You’ll be paired with an upper-division mentor who will welcome you to campus and answer any questions you may have about your experience.

  • Dates: Aug. 23-25, 2021
  • Cost: $320
  • Registration: As of Monday, June 14, 2021, registration has re-opened. Complete the FreshFest Registration 2021 today!

For more information or to request accommodations, contact Syracuse Hillel at 315.422.5084 or by emailing

Muslim Student Life Mentor Program

Have you been wondering what programs are provided for Muslim students on campus? Well, you’ve found one! The Muslim Student Life Mentor Program is run by our Muslim Student Life mentors and ​gives Muslim students on campus an opportunity to meet new people, receive peer advising, find resources on campus and explore your new campus, all before even starting your first day of classes! You will get to know the campus, find your classes and create a network in hopes to make you feel prepared and ready to begin your first year at Syracuse University!

For more information or to request accommodations, call the Office of Muslim Student Life at 856.266.8625 or email at

About Pre-Welcome

Pre-Welcome programs are supported by the Office of First-Year and Transfer Programs, and traditionally occur one to three days prior to Syracuse Welcome. Organized by interests and identity spaces, programs offer students the opportunity to meet and connect to fellow new students in small groups. Learn more on the First-Year and Transfer Programs website.

Syracuse Hillel welcomes new staff members

Syracuse Hillel is excited to welcome three new staff members joining current staff Jillian Juni and Ronen Tzadok! Rabbi Sarah Noyovitz (Rabbi Noyo) will serve as Campus Rabbi, Ian Solow-Niederman will serve as Assistant Director, and Shaina Morrel will serve as the Springboard Fellow for Social Justice.

Learn more about these new team members:

Rabbi Sarah Noyovitz headshotRabbi Sarah Noyovitz, Rabbi Noyo (she/they), grew up in southern New Hampshire, where she fell in love with Judaism. She graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore with a major in psychology and a minor in music. Goucher was also where Rabbi Noyo first got involved with Hillel and Jewish text study. She went on to attend Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Newton, MA, graduating with a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies and rabbinic ordination in 2020. When she’s not working to make Judaism more radically inclusive and accessible, Rabbi Noyo can be found teaching Zumba classes, playing guitar, and dreaming of having a bearded dragon.

Ian Solow-Niederman headshotIan Solow-Niederman (he/him) was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He received a BA in communication, with minors in Jewish Studies and Religious Studies from the University of Colorado. As a student in Boulder he was an active leader with Hillel, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and the University. After college he cemented his love for Jewish communal work with time at AEPi’s Headquarters and the American Hebrew Academy. Over 5 years as the Regional Director for BBYO in Denver he expanded membership, built partnerships, and hosted International Convention 2019. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Jewish Professional Studies from the Spertus Institute. Ian is passionate about college basketball, Taylor Swift, food, and Judaism.

Shaina Morrel headshotShaina Morrel (she/her) grew up in Central Massachusetts before attending the George Washington University in Washington, DC where she studied International Affairs, focusing on culture and human rights. She grew up immersed in the Jewish community – URJ camp, NFTY, Heller High, and in college became deeply involved in GW Hillel and founded a chapter of SAEPi, a Jewish First, Greek Second sorority on campus. Along this journey, Shaina found and fostered her love for the intersections of Judaism and social justice, immersing in learning opportunities and spaces to explore these ideas. In her free time she can be found hiking, spending time with family, practicing yoga, and in the kitchen trying new vegetarian recipes. Shaina is excited to be a part of the Syracuse University and the Hillel International communities, to learn with and from the students, and create meaningful, inclusive and intersectional programming opportunities.

Learn more about Hillel at

Muslim Students’ Association and Muslim Chaplaincy Support Students During Ramadan 2021

Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is an important time of reflection and empathy for observant Muslims.

Muslim prayer

This year, Ramadan lasted from April 12 through May 12, and for the first time in almost 15 years, the month of Ramadan occurred during an academic semester. The Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and Muslim chaplaincy at Syracuse University provided students with a sense of community and support during their 30 days of fasting.

“There is a strong emotional sentiment that comes with fasting, and at the end of fasting we always look forward to celebrating with our family for Eid. It was hard being away from our families during Ramadan, especially for international students,” says Saad Sayed G’21, MSA chief strategist. “MSA believes that coming together to support each other is what we needed the most during this sacred time.”

Learn more about Ramadan on campus in Syracuse University News.


Meet Saad Sayed G’21

Get to know one of our incredible students, Saad Sayed G’21! Saad majors in engineering management, and is the chief strategist for the Muslim Students’ Association. Learn more about Saad’s experience in MSA:

“As humans we are in constant need of acknowledgement and comfort. That is what we commonly refer as ‘empathy.’ We try to find that in the communities around us. I believe that the Muslim Students’ Association is striving towards that goal. Those of us in the MSA try to be true to the notion – We are one! The selfless efforts put in by our Muslim Chaplain, Br. Amir Duric is highly commendable. We need leaders like Br. Amir, who show compassion and provide guidance with a touch of wisdom to our community as a whole, be it a Muslim or an individual from any other faith. I believe confidence is what makes you stronger and that is bolstered with the company you keep.

It gives me a purpose to make a difference in the lives around us, to try to at least put a smile on a sad face. It has increased the horizon in my eyes to the responsibilities that a Muslim has towards humanity and the message of peace that needs to be delivered. It has taught me to reflect and made me realize that, in order to make our communities better in every way, I myself need to become a role model first.”

Campus Connect delivers food to those in need

The bounty of the earth, great recipes and dedicated cooks and servers make dining at Syracuse University a high point of the day for many students. Campus Connect, Lutheran Campus Ministry’s student organization, helped share these resources with those in need in the Syracuse community this spring.

Group of Food Service employees standing in a group
Thank you to the amazing staff at Graham Dining Center!

The campus chapter of Food Recovery Network, a national organization that collects unused food and delivers it to institutions that feed the hungry, was seeking to expand this semester. Shallythaw Da, Campus Connect president, wanted to help, and so she reached out to the members of her student group to get them on board. By coincidence, three of them already worked at Graham Dining Center, one of the food pick-up sites. Since then, Campus Connect has picked up and delivered food that would otherwise be thrown away from Graham nearly every night of the week.

In the dining center, volunteers wrap and weigh each pan and record the donations. Then a driver takes the food to institutions such as The Salvation Army, Rescue Mission and Vera House. The staff at Graham Dining Center have been wonderful, helping the student volunteers in countless ways. When thanked, they reply that they are very happy the food is going to people who need it.

“The first time I helped deliver food, I was very hungry looking at the delicious dishes. The second time, there were wonderful desserts that I couldn’t help but look at with longing. By the third time, I had stopped thinking about my own tastebuds, and when something looks good, I’m simply excited for those who will get the chance to eat it,” says Rev. Gail Riina, Lutheran Chaplain. “We will be encouraging everyone we can to volunteer. Just a little bit of time and muscle work and you know you have made a difference!”

Towards the end of the semester, Campus Connect added a Friday lunch recovery shift and the Food Recovery Network hopes to add more lunch recovery days in the fall.

Buddhist Chaplaincy brings students together in sangha

Mindfulness Meditation Training

The Buddhist Chaplaincy hosted a celebratory tea with Japanese treats on May 9 to honor the eight students who completed level one of Mindfulness Meditation Training this semester. Selin Durak, Lei Wang, Rosalie Turner, Nathan Hirschberg, Adria Ivkovic, Amelia Ercolino, Hannah Helfert and Cal Parker all completed the program. This level of the training required participation in meditation and related events, journaling and a final written reflection. This is the first set of students who have completed this new program, and several exceeded the expectations of participation in meditation.


Meditation Retreat

The Buddhist Meditation Association hosted a Meditation Retreat during Wellness Day on April 21. Students engaged in several activities to “get out their heads” and clear their minds. The day included silent meditation, as well as a guided meditation and creative movement. Students watched and discussed an interview with Koshin Paley Ellison, and expressed themselves on an ongoing “graffiti board.”  They also experience a mindful eating opportunity during silent lunch. The day ended with a hike, which students braved despite the cold and snowy weather.


Buddha’s Birthday

The Buddhist Chaplaincy celebrated Buddha’s Birthday on April 11 in the Noble Room. A beautiful flower bower was set up around the baby Buddha statue. Students experienced the traditional ritual of chanting and bathing the baby Buddha statue in Ambrosial Nectar. Following the ritual, all celebrated with cake and fellowship. Buddha’s Birthday is a joyous celebration commemorating the birth of Siddhartha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha.

Blessing of Students

In honor of the students at Syracuse University, and to commemorate the conclusion of the Spring semester and celebrate the graduating Class of 2021, the Dean, chaplains and staff of Hendricks Chapel will host a “Blessing of Students” on Sunday, May 9, at 4 p.m. ET on Zoom Webinar.

The virtual program will include musical performances and spoken reflections from Dean Brian Konkol, our chaplains of diverse faiths, and the Hendricks Chapel Choir!

This event is free and open to all, including Syracuse University students, parents, alumni and community members. Captioning and American Sign Language will be provided. Preregistration is not required.

This program will open Commencement 2021 festivities. Learn more about this year’s ceremony at

Muslim Students’ Association Inspires Renovation of Prayer Space in Hendricks Chapel

Students often seek a safe space on campus where they can feel at home. At Hendricks Chapel, the chaplains, staff and students work together to create an environment that is welcoming of the broader campus community and will continue to benefit those who use it in the future.

Syracuse University recently invested in that mission with a renovation of the Muslim Prayer Room, located on the lower level of Hendricks Chapel. Approved in August 2020 after engaged discussions with the Muslim student community, the project has since been completed.

Learn more in Syracuse University News.

Student Assembly of Interfaith Leaders Highlights Importance of Interfaith Collaboration

Conversations about faith and religion are often avoided. In the midst of polarized times such topics can be especially daunting. However, as shared by Rev. Brian E. Konkol, dean of Hendricks Chapel, a key to understanding others lies in having these serious conversations.

Ethan Smith G'22

Ethan Smith G’22, convener of SAIL

“For years far too many have been told to not discuss religion in public life, yet in recent times we have witnessed the consequences,” says Konkol.  “So we should not avoid such conversations but instead find ways to have them, and have them in ways that are both safe and brave.”

“The Student Assembly of Interfaith Leaders is one of the ways that we are trying to spark and sustain spaces that allow for our students to share their beliefs and learn about the beliefs of others,” he says.

Learn more in Syracuse University News.